20VC: The Biggest Trend Of Our Lifetime Is The Decentralisation of Entrepreneurship Away From The Valley, The Biggest Lessons From Learning The Craft of VC at Sequoia & The Benchmarks Required to Attract Growth Investors with Chris Olsen, Founding Partner @ Drive Capital

Posted on 23rd April 2018 by Harry


Chris Olsen is the Founding Partner @ Drive Capital, the venture firm that believes the Midwest is the opportunity of our lifetime with more entrepreneurs building billion-dollar companies in the Midwest than in the last 50 years combined. Since inception in 2012, Drive have built an exceptional portfolio including the likes of Duolingo, FarmLogs, LeadPages and Udacity. As for Chris, prior to founding Drive he was a Partner @ Sequoia Capital on the West Coast where he learned the craft from some of the very best in the business. Before that he spent time at both TCV and UBS.



In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

1.) How Chris came to found the largest venture fund in the midwest, Drive, from being a Partner @ Sequoia Capital and learning the craft of venture there?

2.) Why does Chris believe that the biggest trend we will live through is the decentralisation away from Silicon Valley? What are the essential ingredients an ecosystem requires in order to foster this thriving tech hub? What does Chris believe it is fundamentally essential for companies to be in close proximity to?

3.) How does the lack of venture funds in the Midwest affect Chris’ views on pricing? Would Chris agree with Peter Fenton, “never turn down a company based on valuation, it is a mental trap”? How does Chris look to differentiate between expensive and too expensive?

4.) How does Chris think about reserve allocation with Drive? What framework does Drive adopt to determine where to allocate reserve dollars? How does the shortage of follow-on investors in the midwest impact Chris’ approach to follow on financing? What level does a company need to be in order to attract attention from larger growth funds?

Items Mentioned In Today’s Show:

Chris’ Fave Book: The Old Man and The Sea

Chris’ Most Recent Investment: Duolingo

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Cooley is a global law firm built around supporting start-ups and the venture capital firms that fund them. Now we have spoken before about their forming the first venture fund in Silicon Valley, and forming more VC funds than any other law firm in the world but Cooley also represents more than 6,000 high-growth startups across the globe – through the full company life cycle. They are the #1 law firm for VC-backed exits (M&A and IPO) ranked by PitchBook, and since 2014 has represented more companies in their IPOs than any other law firm.  Simply head over to Cooley.com or you can check them out at Cooleygo.com.

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